Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: January 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Freeze Rice and Oatmeal

I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out but I have found a lifesaver in my bulk meal making. I am now pre-making all my rice and oatmeal in huge pots and then make them into single servings and FREEZE THEM! It works! Totally works and is so easy!

Totally easy to do. Just make up a batch of rice or oatmeal. Let it cool down after it is done cooking so that you can handle it. Then just use a measuring cup (I use 1 cup size) and place the portioned size of rice onto plastic wrap and wrap it up tightly. I do that until all the rice or oatmeal is gone and then put it in a a Ziplock bag and into the freezer it goes. Super easy!
To defrost, pull out as many servings as you need for the next day, the night before and stick it in the fridge to defrost overnight. Pop it in the microwave or on the stovetop to reheat and there you have it! I can then add seasoning to the rice (cumin), or use it in stir fry and the oatmeal I add my tablespoon of Flax seed and stevia and I'm DONE! Super EASY! And one less thing to do in the morning when I have 2 kids screaming for their food in the morning.

Have you ever frozen rice or oatmeal before?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January Week 4 Recap

So my thing has has me doing indoor walking videos and PiYo. Read below for why we were at the house all week. As far as with PiYo I can tell a difference in my flexibility since the last time I did PiYo. The body is amazing. I started PiYo a couple of months after I had my second son. I still had the hormone relaxin in my system. Now that he is 8 months old, relaxin is completely gone and I am NOT as flexible as I was. I am looking forward to doing Buns and Core this week though. I am really trying to increase my leg strength right now. I have been doing squats everyday. This week I will be doing 50 squats a day. (5 rounds of 10) I didn't do my run on Saturday. I went and got my new shoes and never made it out later that day due to family stuff. ARGH! That means more work this week at the gym.

Mason: Is being so polite lately. He has learned to say you're welcome and excuse me. But on the flip side he also says go away. So it is a work in progress. He sure does love playing with his brother. And Collin loves it too. Collin just giggles away not matter what Mason is doing to him. They are going to be great friends!

This past week was an indoor week for us. We are in the midst of potty training Mason and he isn't quite ready to wear underwear out of the house just yet. But we did make some great progress this week with him though. Only 9 more #2's on the potty and he will get his reward dinosaurs. Potty training is going ok. He will wear underwear now, YEA, and only has 1-2 accidents a day, most days none at all. He refuses to go #2 on the potty. He did have a massive accident yesterday at church as it was our first experience out of the house without a diaper. He wanted to play and didn't tell his teacher he needed to go.

Collin: Collin likes to get himself in trouble these days. He has learned what the word "No" means and thinks it is funny every time. Kid wants to kill himself. He always goes to the stairs and the dog water dish and we always say no. He just looks at us and thinks we are the funniest people in the world. He will crawl to us if we ask him to. And it is super sweet. He is sleeping so well at night right now, only waking up mostly at 5:30am for a feeding then goes back to sleep till 9am. He does mommy quiet time too. He will go down at 12:30, on the dot, and will sleep till 2:30-3pm. Then he is up for a little while longer and takes about a 45 min nap from 5ish-6. Then goes to bed by 8:30pm. He tells us he is ready to go to bed. After nursing he will look at his bed as a sign that he is ready to go in. He doesn't fuss or complain. He just pushes himself up to look at me as I leave then plops his head down and is out for the count! IT IS AMAZING!

Workout Recap:
Sunday: rest
Monday: Squats- 40- 1 mile indoor walk
Tuesday: Squats- 40- 2 miles indoor walk
Wednesday: rest - PiYo Lower
Thursday: Squats- 40 - 2 miles indoor walk
Friday: Squats - 40 - 1 mile indoor walk
Saturday: rest got my new running shoes!

Fitbit Totals: 
Steps- 60,736 = 26.51 miles
Total stairs- 60
(I believe that I was charging my fitbit on Wednesday and that is why it didn't register any walking so, the numbers are off!)

Monday, January 26, 2015

My New Shoes

Well I have them and have now tried them out, once! Today, at the gym. And all I did was walk for 30 min and use the elliptical for 15 min. I am trying to get my feet used to them before my lovely 7 mile run this weekend.

So what did I get?

I got Asics GT 2000's. Aren't they PRETTY!

I will say I am a little on the fence. They do feel different. My foot actually is supported now and I hadn't realized how little support there really was in my old shoes. And my feet are kind of humming in the shoes right now. (like after you get an adjustment from the chiropractor and your body is like, this is good, but WHAT THE HECK DID YOU DO TO ME kind of humming.) Also the back of the shoes come up higher on my heel than my other ones did and I had some uncomfortable rubbing today.

Also the store said didn't have half sizes in stock for my Sasquatch feet, so I am in an 11 and my other shoes were an 11.5. I brought up this point with the shoe fitter guy and he said that they fit for now and how my feet are now not for how they could be in the summer with swelling and such. But since they are almost slipping now, a bigger size might not work that well!
~Here is what tread on the bottom of a shoe should look like!~

So the verdict is yet to be delivered at this point. I am going to see how tomorrows training run goes and I think I need to have my feet adjusted again at the chiropractor to make sure my talus is in the right alignment and then I might feel better overall about my new shoes. (it has been a few weeks since my last cracking session!)
~SUPER WHITE LEGS! EEK! Who needs a reflector when you are this white!~

(oh my goodness, Mason just giggled and it sounded like a pig squealing! so cute!)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Today Is The Day

Today I am going to get my new running shoes! Super excited for a brand new pair and to start training in them. A little nervous to find out if my foot has changed, or my support needs have changed. Maybe my foot size has changed too. It feels like so many things have changed in my feet since I have had Collin.

We were at Dick's Sporting Goods the other day and I made my way to the shoe area and was looking at the different running shoes. I remember that I was fitted with the ACIS GT 2000 and they didn't feel as good as my Brooks. I have had Nike's in the past and have wanted to try the ACIS Kayano and have heard great things about Mizuno. We will find out in just a few hours what I am destined to have for the next year and round of training!

Off to the running store I go now though to BUY MY NEW SHOES!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Early To Bed

Can I just say that I am totally loving the fact that Collin is sleeping in his own room! Maybe my friend has it right that she starts the kid in their own room from the day the baby comes home from the hospital, because this sleeping through the night thing is AMAZING! (awe man, another $1 in the jar!)

I have been sleeping so well at night. Thanks to my Fitbit charge I can actually see how much sleep I am getting and right now, especially the last 4 days has been AWESOME! (avoided using the other word!)
So, now my goal is to be in bed and asleep by 10pm every night. That allows me some time to blog, and check my social media stuff and chit chat with the hubs, maybe even catch an episode of something together before having to head off to bed. I think I have done pretty well with this so far this week. And since the sun doesn't come up till a little bit later, I am even able to sleep in for a little while longer before Mason yells at me to open the door. (Mason wakes with the sun. So in the winter he sleeps in and in the summer he is up and at 'em by 5am.) This has been so nice for me since working out super early just doesn't work for me. I tried it, see my post here about how I was going to try it. I failed at it and realized that I am just not an early morning waking up kind of person to work out! And that is ok! I am getting it done in the morning and I am ok with that!

There are some good reason why to go to bed early though and get a good night sleep: It can help with losing weight, keep your appetite under control, improve your memory, make you more nice, less grumpy, clear thinking, less chronic pain and inflammation. Give it a try for a week and see what it does for you!

So far though I am doing pretty well with the sleeping. I am just hoping that I can keep it up.

What time do yo go to bed?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

What I am LOVING

Coconut Oil! I LOVE THIS STUFF! It is amazing! (oops, $1 goes in the jar!) I have been using coconut oil for everything right now it seems. I cook with it, feed my baby it and use it as lotion. Let me count the ways I love it!

1. It is a healthy fat! As I have mentioned Collin is not gaining as much weight as he should be. He is a super active baby and started crawling at 5.5 months and hasn't stopped yet. And I didn't supplement his solid foods diet with healthy fats. He was just getting super low calorie purees. So this month I have been fattening him up with FATS. No doughnuts or ice cream for him (although he has tried cake and ice cream and loves them) but I want him to have healthy fats. He dislikes avocados, and can stand egg yolks if they are mixed with bananas but the one fat that he will gobble down is coconut oil! I add 1/2 a teaspoon in his solid foods about 1-2 times a day. Like last night, he had prunes and 1/2 a teaspoon of melted coconut oil. (Coconut oil is actually solid until it reaches body temp, then it melts.) He loves the stuff and he smells so good afterwards when his face is covered with coconut oil! I wonder if he remembers the stuff from when he was just a tiny little baby. I used it to help my nipples when I started nursing him to avoid cracking and such. It totally worked!

2. Cooking with it! Matt loves stir fry and so I have been trying my hand at it. So I have been using coconut oil to coat my pan. Really anytime I use my pans on the stove I add coconut oil. I also use coconut oil spray to spray down my pan right before I cook my eggs. Mason loves the taste of coconut oil eggs and so do I. I know I am giving him good fats and not just empty calories and bad fats like from other spray cans.

3. Winter is hard on my skin. Really hard. I drink so much water but my hands and lips always get so chapped during the winter. So I have been using some coconut oil on my hands and lips to help them not be so bad. I apply at night so it has plenty of time to soak into my skin without me washing it off during the day and such and I will say that my hands look great! But it is not a quick fix. By the end of the day my hands are dry and ready for another coat of oil.

If you haven't tried coconut oil yet, GET ON THE BANDWAGON and try it! You will not be disappointed. It has so many good things for your body. You can add it in anything and not really taste it, unless you want to taste it, then you just use more. It is so clean tasting and it is just an amazing product that is like windex and can help almost anything.
What brands?: I use Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut oil and also Trader Joe's Coconut Oil spray can. I also love Spectrums Organic Virgin Coconut oil but it is more expensive.

QOTD: What are you favorite things to use coconut oil in? Also I referenced 2 shows, 1 current TV show and 1 older movie in this blog post. Do you know what shows I am talking about???

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January Week 3 Recap

Sorry this is 2 days late...again! This week we have been hit with a puking baby and a potty training toddler who thinks he needs to sit on the potty every 5 seconds. It is good that Mason is so dedicated to going potty but he requires me to be with him at all times. So it has been a pretty crazy few days here in the Allen home.

I am super happy with how last week went. I have been doing more for me. I have made it a goal to do squats every day to help build my leg strength and get some PiYo into my exercise routine as well. The gym attendance wasn't all that great but I still took care of me as much as I could. Life with 2 is challenging that is for sure!

Oh and an update on my running shoes. My coach is the owner of the running shoe store here in town. I stopped on the track to tell him on Saturday I was going to be in soon and if it was safe for me to go out on my run in the shoes or not. I showed him and he said that I need to get them replaced very soon and the way the shoes are could cause a stress fracture in my foot if I run too much longer in them. So new shoes it is. Just getting down there with 2 kids, almost impossible. Hoping this weekend to get my shoes taken care of.

Mason: Mason is learning more and more dinosaur names. And one thing that I have really noticed this past week is his growth in imagination. He is playing more with his toys. Making sounds for them to do things and using his toys to talk with each other. He makes his T-Rex eat other dinosaurs or the other dinos eat his T-Rex. But it just isn't with his dinos he does this with. He has a little Mickey and Goofy toy and they talk to each other and drive the car. It is really cool to watch him play with his toys now.

Collin: Collin is doing more crawling and standing. He is trying to stand at every moment he can find. We have been concerned about his weight. He has lost about half a pound since his 4 month appointment. So I have been trying to fatten him up with healthy fats and eating more solid foods in general. His main goal these days is to play with whatever toy brother is playing or grabbing mommy or daddy's tablet away. And sucking on any chord he can find! No teeth yet just lots of toothless grins for this momma!

Sunday: rest
Monday: 1 mile slow walk
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: PiYo lower define
Thursday: 30 min speed walk 30 min elliptical
Friday: 2.5 mile slow walk
Saturday: 6.13 mile run/walk. 15:10 min/mile pace. Super happy with this because it was on the 10 miler course and I just kept a consistent run a little walk a little pace.

Plus 30-40 squats every day.

Total Steps: 63,333 equal to 29.01 miles
Total Stairs: 54 (not including the hills from my 6.13 miles. I had to charge the thing. It died!)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Retiring My Running Shoes

Well, it looks like that time has come upon me. Time to retire my running shoes for a fresh, and spotless new pair. Over the last month I have been dealing with shin splints. I spoke with one of the captains of my training program about it and she suggested that I replace my running shoes with those that have more support. I was thinking that my shoes didn't have that much mileage on them to warrant that. I had heard that running shoes need to be replaced every 600 miles and surely I have not run that many miles.

Yesterday I picked  up my shoes to put them on to go to the gym and I noticed the underside of my left shoes was, different. There is like NO tread at the ball of the foot. I remember that it used to grip so much better. And it felt a little soft. I will say since I am back into running regularly my shin splints have gone away for the most part, as I thought they would, now to get the knot gone completely, but that still doesn't explain the pain in my left foot around the outer arch that I would get after runs.

Now I know. My shoes don't have enough support on them. They are worn out and I am now in the market to get new running shoes. And running shoes are not cheap! So time to save up the bones and head on down to my running shoes store and get fitted with a new pair. But why my shoes? Why did they wear down so quickly? Here are some thoughts I have on why mine wore down.

~I checked my mileage and I have done a total of 360 miles on these shoes with walking and running. I do not wear these shoes as my everyday shoes. I have been very good about that. I have been very diligent about logging all my runs or walks for training purposes and I am glad that I did but that number still seemed low to me. I have heard people replace their shoes at 300 miles, and some at 2,000 miles.

~I am not 120 lbs. When I run there is a lot more pounds of pressure applied to my shoes than say someone who weighs 120, or even 160 lbs. It does make a difference. So my tread literally got worn down faster because of my weight.

~Feet changes. I purchased these shoes in June 2013 just before I started training for my first 4 miler race. My old shoes weren't cutting it. Well I got pregnant with Collin in August 2014. I continued to run and train while pregnant. And during pregnancy my feet great little and the arch changed thanks in part to the hormone relaxin. Then after I had Collin and got back in my running shoes, my feet have shrunk and my arches lifted back up for the most part. So my feet have been changing during the whole time I have had these shoes.

~Stride changes. Also with being pregnant I have had to alter my stride to accommodate my changing body. Hence why the tread on my left foot is more worn down. Even now, since I still have excess fat between my legs from being pregnant (yes when pregnant you will get fat on your thighs, hips and butt, even the skinniest person will!) I have had to alter my stride again to accommodate my new body. Man, it is hard making babies!

I really have enjoyed my Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13. They have served me quite well. I have trained for and completed many races in these shoes. Time to save them for a mud race or foam fest where they can get totally trashed and be ok with it! Now to look for new shoes. What are your favorite running shoes? 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Survival Guide For The Gym In January: Home Gym

Welcome to part 3 of my survival guide for the gym in January. If you missed part 1 or part 2 check them out!

Let's say you have been weighing your options about a gym membership. You haven't been able to wrap your head around all the fees and the overall cost of the gym and it doesn't work for your budget. Or have you been going to the gym for the last 2 weeks and now that it is the middle of the month you might have decided that they gym just might not be for you. You tried it out and, well it didn't quite fit you. Well, This post is for you!

Have you ever thought about making a home gym in your house? A home gym? I bet you are thinking, I don't have the space, or a separate room, or the money? I'm not talking about having a ton of equipment but just getting the essentials for your house and what you personally need. The basics might be a set of dumbbells, a treadmill or elliptical, resistance bands, really that's it! You don't need all that fancy equipment to get a great workout. Here are some ideas below to help you out!

Let's say you just go to the gym and use the treadmill. No classes, no pool, no kids zone. You just go for the treadmill. Compare the costs of a gym membership for a year and the cost of the treadmill. If you have a corner space in your room you might have some space in your house for a treadmill. This can save you money over the long run and you will be able to do your workouts at your own time. Not the gym's scheduled. Same goes for an elliptical.

If you just use free weights, what about getting a free weights set. That have free weights that you can select the weight and with just a move of a button you can change the weight setting and they take up very little space. Or just get a standard 10-25 lbs set of weights. Or even a resistance band you can get a pretty good workout with!

Another great investment are at home workout DVD's. These are not like your mom's jazzercise workouts of the days of old. There are some major butt kicking workouts that will, WILL get you into shape as long as you follow their eating plan and exercise routines. A lot of workouts nowadays are 30 minutes or less. The makers are realizing that people don't want to spend hours at the gym. They want to get the same results in as little time as possible. The 30 minute workouts make you go, go, go for the entire time, and then you can rest. 21 Day Fix, Insanity Max: 30, P90X3, and T25, are all through Beachbody, and are all 30 minute or less workout programs. And if you want to get bulked up too, there are workouts for you too. But they are longer dvd lengths and program lengths. You can pretty much customize what kind of workout program you want to do. There is a DVD for you and whatever you want to do.

As with any workout regime if you want to lose weight you HAVE to incorporate healthy eating into your daily lives because you will not see the results you want unless you cut the crap food and eat clean. Abs are Made in the KITCHEN!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Words To Live By

Today I was checking out my favorite blogs and I love what Heather at  Through Heather's Looking Glass said today about finding time as a new mom to exercise, and glad to know that I am not the only one out there that would rather do something else!

4.) Sacrifice: There are a lot of days I would rather take a nap then go for a run, or skip the gym in favor of watching my favorite TV series. However, I know if I don’t make an effort and make some sacrifices, I won’t get my workouts in, and I won’t be a happy person which equals not being a happy mommy. I NEED my sweat sessions, so it really is for everyone’s benefit for me to sacrifice something else so I can workout.
This is so true, especially for me right now. When Collin and Mason are down for "mommy quiet time" I want to rest, relax and just not do anything but turn off my brain and sit down with my favorite TV show. Well, the great thing about Hulu, Netflix or TV in general. It will always be there later. All I have to do is just 30 minutes a day here at the house. That is my goal. Go to the gym and do my run and the elliptical for an hour and then sometime later in the day, most likely when the kids are down for a nap, do another 30 min of PiYo for strength training. So time for me to sacrifice and watch later and continue to FOCUS ON ME! Because I am worth fighting for!

Thank you Heather for your words that made a profound impact on my day! 

January Week 2 Recap

This past week I was hit with miserable exhaustion! Hence why this is out 2 days late! I have been in such a bad habit of going to bed super late and then sleeping in, in the mornings. That it has just thrown off my whole schedule. I am eating later in the day and my whole eating pattern is off too. I am going to be trying better this week to be in bed and asleep by 10pm. (as long as the kiddos let me!)

My workouts suffered a little because of it but as long as I get my weekly mileage in I am ok with that. I will say that this last Saturday my legs felt like they didn't have enough strength. I felt like I really had to dig deep and push my legs while running around Charlottesville. There are a TON of hills here in Charlottesville and I just feel like I need a little extra boost in my leg strength to get me comfortably over these hills. So I am going to add PiYo back into my training mix to help with my flexibility, and overall strength. The more I read about PiYo and how amazing it is for running the more excited I am to add it back in again.

Mason: Mason loves being a big brother. He loves to pick on Collin, like a typical big brother does, but he also shows him the most heart warming love I have ever seen. Often when Collin cries Mason alerts us to it and will rush over and give him a hug, kiss and a pat on the head. He also loves to help Collin out by fetching his toy for him when Collin throws is down on the ground. Mason is learning new dinosaur names everyday! He now knows pentaceratops.

Collin: Is growing up way too quickly. We found out this week that he is still not gaining enough weight. Thanks in part to him crawling so much and being such an active baby. So Now I am pumping him full of healthy fats and he really does love it. Since I started feeding him solids, I have noticed that my milk supply has suffered so we are trying to boost that back up too by making sure he nurses first before solid food feedings. And I was advised by his doc to add in 1-2 more feedings during the day. So already in the last half of this week he is starting to fill out more, and even spit up at the end of feedings because we are actually topping off the tank! He is cruising for sure now. He will pull himself up on anything and walk along the couch or whatever he is standing next too. His face is just plastered with a HUGE "I DID IT!" grin and he is such a happy and loving and happy baby!

As I said earlier, my workouts took a decline this past week due to me just not taking care of me and going to bed so late. (even my dad made a comment the other night about how I was going to bed so late!) My runs this week weren't the best. My legs were still recovering from the Saturday long run so my 3 mile run ended up being a 2 mile walk. I have decided that I need to do my running days on Tuesday and Thursday again. Because Monday is just too soon after my long runs for my legs to function properly!

Sunday: rest
Monday: 2 mile walk
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 1 mile walk
Thursday: rest
Friday: 1 mile walk
Saturday: 5 mile run 15:59 min/mile. It was 18 degrees and it hurt to breath. I just wanted to finish. And I ran to the downtown mall. That is just so "far" away and unbelievable that I ran to there from the university. (all my c-ville peeps will know what I am talking about!)

Total Steps: 55,570 Equals 24.75 miles
Total Floors: 94

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year Giveaway By For Two Fitness

I am thrilled to partner with For Two Fitness for an amazing New Year giveaway. If you recall, I wore For Two Fitness apparel through my pregnancy with Collin and they quickly became my absolutely favorite maternity fitness apparel brand. For Two Fitness is running a phenomenal giveaway for the New Year. Read the details below.
Happy New Year! We are so thankful to YOU — our community, customers, and friends. To express our thanks, we are hosting a huge giveaway this week in partnership with some amazing brands and our ambassadors. The Grand Prize is valued at $1000.  We have phenomenal prizes, including the newest offering from BOB - a Revolution FLEX  jogging stroller - plus prizes from ASICS, Ergo and Maison Drake baby boutique, and For Two Fitness – all facets of your healthy mom lifestyle are in this prize pack!
The grand prize winner will win everything you see listed here.  Prizes have been furnished by our wonderful brand partners in connection with a sponsoring ambassador (Katie from Mom’s Little Running Buddy and Melody from Will Run For Margaritas). Here are more details about the amazing products that have been generously donated for you to win and enjoy:
Grand Prize Giveaway items:
      The New BOB Revolution FLEX single stroller
      For Two Fitness maternity athletic outfit (top and bottom of winner’s choice)
      Ergo 360 Baby Carrier furnished by Maison Drake baby boutique
      Asics Running Shoes (1 pair of the winner’s choice)
Wow!  We are thrilled to give away these amazing prizes.  This contest runs from Monday, January 12th through midnight on Friday, January 16th.  Visit the For Two Fitness site to enter.  Be sure to follow @ForTwoFitness and our co-hosts @run4margaritas and @momslrb on Instagram in order for your entries to be valid.
Thanks for celebrating the New Year with us!  Good Luck!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Running In The Cold

Oh man, today was a brutal run! I just checked the weather indicator that my Garmin has and it clocked todays run at 18 degrees. Not including the cross wind we had the whole time. I had no idea it was that cold, and boy was it COLD!  So what can we do to make sure that we are prepared for for that kind of cold.

1. Layers and more layers. Layers are good cause if you do get cold you can tie your jacket around your waist. But honestly I didn't see anyone take off their jacket today.

2. Head Coverage- Wear a headband that can cover your ears or ear muffs or even a beanie. I don't have this but I do have a hoodie on my jacket which helped out today, a little.

3. Wear a scarf to help cover your face and exposed skin. I didn't have this and I can tell you right now that my face is covered in wind burn. My face hurts. Around my lips the most.

4. Gloves. My fingers were very cold. I have a jacket that has the thumb holes that cover most of my hands but my fingers were exposed.

5. Just know that when it is that cold your pace could slow down because it is a little hard to breath when it is that cold. I had a hard time with my legs too because they were FROZEN! And at about 2.5 miles they were so frozen that they were numb. Which helped in me needing to take less walk breaks but my legs were so cold they were numb. CRAZY huh! Or it could be completely opposite that you might run faster to get out of the cold. But most people I talked to today ran just a little slower than usual.

6. DRINK WATER! The winter months are so deceiving but it is a lot easier to get dehydrated during the winter than the summer. We know in the summer to drink. We feel it, we see it with our sweat. Water out means water in. But when it is so cold, you don't sweat as much so we don't compensate with enough water. So make sure you drink WATER!

Hope this helps the next time you have to battle the cold.

~All my Arizona friends are basking in the sunny warmth right now as the are reading this! They live in AZ for a reason. Perfect winter days of 70 degrees!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Survival Guide For The Gym In January: Regulars

Hey all you regular gym attendees! This one's for you! If you missed part 1: Newbies check it out!

We all know what January is like. The gym is usually packed for the first 3 weeks. We all know it is coming and when it happens we all feel a little frustrated. We are so proud of the new people attending but what happens is our routine gets thrown off a little because we either have to wait for equipment to be available and our circuit gets changed up, or we have to hurry off the machines because someone is waiting. And the classes get filled FAST! All week it seems like every spin class has been packed! No bikes available where last month there were at least 2-3 open.

Here you your tips to survive the Gym:

~We know it happens. The gym is more busy in January and that is ok! Great for the gym. It helps keep your prices lower, right because they are meeting their membership requirements and they won't raise the price on anyone because of that.

~Plan accordingly knowing that you might be at the gym for 2 hours instead of 1.5 hours. Last year I did 30 minutes on my favorite treadmill. Someone was waiting behind for me to get off. I got off and went to another treadmill for the last 30 minutes. It happens. (I had to do that 3 times last year on a Saturday when I had a super long run.) But there is a limit on cardio of 30 minutes. Yes I have a favorite treadmill type, I call it the tank! I feel more secure on it and not like I am on a belt. But I am not the only one that prefers that type of machine. (and those machines are on the second floor right under the fans, where a bunch of the other treadmills are like 20 feet under the fans. Without fans, this ginger is even more RED faced!)

~Support and encourage the newbies. If you see someone kind of deer in headlights, help them out. Say hi to more people than usual. It is scary going to the gym and not feeling like you fit in, so help them fit in. You never know, one smile today could make them come back tomorrow.

~Go during off peak hours. Yes this will throw off your schedule because you always go to the gym at 10am to strength train. But guess what, 10 am is when everyone else wants to be there too. I have been going around 11:45 and haven't been kicked off my machines yet. The kids zone is less crowded too. I am so thankful to have the flexibility to go at different times during the day, but if you go when it is super crowded try to see if you can change it up, at least for the first month.

~If you plan to do a group class. Plan on being at the gym 15 minutes early to get a good spot or to sign up if it is limited size. Or pre-sign up if that is available. But just know to be early, or you might not get in the class you wanted or will be squished in Zumba!

~We are all going for the same reason. Let's be happy that we have a place to go to when it is only 11 degrees outside and feels like -2! SERIOUSLY!?! Do not want to run in that!

Final thoughts! It is sad but true fact gyms are super packed in January but this is only temporary. I wish that it weren't true because that means that more people are sticking to their new lifestyles and getting fit. I know many people that have these expensive gym memberships and don't go. Just wasted money. If you are a newbie reading this...PROVE ME WRONG! Stick it out. Don't do too much at once. Keep coming back no matter what. Make this your lifestyle and next year, in January, you will be a REGULAR TOO!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Different Kind Of Motivation

We are at that phase in our toddler's life where he needs to choose to be a toddler or a child. Time to get out of diapers. We are hoping that this lovely Pachyrhinosaurus will be the key to helping him figure out that it is cool to go on the potty.

Guppy was very kind and got this dinosaur for Mason specifically as an incentive to go potty. And if he does learn then I bet more dinosaurs are going to be making an appearance. Guppy's rules for Mason to earn the Pachyrhinosaurus is:
~Seriously a cool looking toy. He is hiding out in a VERY HIGH cupboard right now~

1) Wear underwear- not go around the house naked.
2) No potty in said underwear

My rule:
3) Must go #2 on the potty 10 times before he gets dinosaur. (I figure 10 times is like 10 days since he normally only goes once a day.)

So we will see if this will make it worth his while. We did make it a sold 5 hours in undies without an accident. Then he totally peed when he went down for a nap. Then he made it 3 more hours in fresh undies no accident. Until we watched a movie and he had an accident. So we are trying.

I will say that potty training a 3 year old boy, is no FUN! AT ALL! And Mason has the personality that he won't do something unless HE decided he wants too and he hasn't quite decided. I am hoping the picture will help further his incentive to go potty and GET OUT OF DIAPERS!

QOTD: What have you done to potty train your kids? I need any advice!

Survival Guide For The Gym In January!: Newbies

I am going to write a 3 part series over the next few days about this topic and it will be for EVERYONE! Today's post is for those that are new to the gym.

The new year is the #1 time of the year for gyms to maximize on their membership rates. So many people start out the new year with a new membership because they want to get into shape. They are tired of living the way they are and want to change for the better.

Is this you? Did you get a gym membership for Christmas???

YOU DID! WAY TO GO! So happy for you and welcome to the world of the gym. I am so proud of you to commit to yourself, and to your family. You are amazing. I know this wasn't easy and I know it was a little scary too! Going to a gym is very intimidating. There are so many fit people there to begin with and you might feel like you just don't quite fit in. There is learning the equipment, what exercises to do, how to fit in and just getting used to adding a new thing into your daily life.

Just know that you are not alone. Everyone new to the gym feels this way. We were all new at one point. My biggest fear about the gym when I went was because everyone was so thin and fit and I was not. I was overweight. What would they think of me?

Honestly, they probably don't even notice you or if they do, they are super proud of you for what you are doing and know that it is hard. No one should ever make you feel less because you joined a gym to take care of you!

The first few months of my gym I wore baggy cotton shirts and cotton shorts to work out in to hide my belly and fat. But I sweat like a Beast because I wasn't wearing the right clothing. I then felt self conscience of how much I was sweating. I felt weak in front of everyone because I was struggling to do squats and even just lift the bar for the bench press. I could barely walk on the treadmill before I was out of breath. I could hardly do the elliptical for 10 minutes without dying! But I kept going. I finally decided that I needed to be comfortable at the gym. I ditched my baggy shirts and cotton shorts. Got tank tops and fitted exercise pants. If the guys at the gym wanted to look well, that was their choice I was doing this for me. I wore no makeup and frankly I wasn't going to the gym to pick up guys. After a few months of dedication those same guys I was nervous of looking at me, judging me because I was fat, started commenting on how much stronger I was getting. And how much slimmer I was. I was losing inches and I WAS stronger. When I maxed out the weights on the leg press machine, not the one where you add barbells but the actual machine, the men were impressed! I was a force not to be messed with.

I had joined their ranks, but honestly I joined their ranks long ago. The day I decided to join a gym. I was a gym rat!
 Here are a few things to know to help you out:

~Don't worry about what other people are thinking of you. It doesn't matter. Honestly. I know at some point you will see someone and be like, to look like that. Well, to look like that, takes hard work and dedication. I frankly admire the women who lift weights. I want arms like some of those women someday.

~Right now know that the gym will be busy when you go. Because when you go, probably mid morning, is when everyone else will want to go. So to avoid the morning rush go a little later in the morning. Also the afternoons are just as crazy if not more so. Times to avoid might be 9:30-11am and 4:30-6. But your gym might be different. You can ask your gym when their busier times are and they will tell you!
~Limit your time on the cardio equipment to 30 min unless the gym is not that busy. In my current gym there are 3 different sections of cardio. I have a specific type of treadmill that I prefer to run on. My rule of thumb is if there are at least 2 machines open around me than I can go beyond 30 min. If not then I know that my workout could get cut short. Once that second machine fills up. I have to get off. There could be someone out there that prefers the same type of machine I do.

~Please use a towel when siting down at machines. Or at least wipe the seat down after you use the machine. You don't like sweating and nobody else wants to sit on your sweat. EWWW! And wipe down your cardio machine too. Wherever you touch just wipe it down.

~Take a little time for you after you workout. I have the kids in the kids zone and they can be in there 2.5 hours a day. I don't do 2.5 hours of working out. I do an hour to hour and half at most. Then I just lounge for a little while longer. Read a book, browse the internet. Use the changing rooms and get ready for the day, take a shower. Take time for you to relax.

~Don't take every class in your first week. Spread out the love of classes because if you do too much too soon you are going to hurt. You won't make it back to the gym tomorrow because you are sore, and then something else comes up and before you know it you haven't been to the gym in awhile. Don't fall into this trap of go to the gym and stop before you start. Take it easy. Go walking on the treadmill and watch a class going on or go to the class but at the back of the room and take it easy. Limit yourself to 1-2 classes a week at first. Know that if you take spin that your butt and other areas will be sore for at least 3 classes, you take! Go slow and over time you will be able to do more. It's ok to only do a little at a time!
~There are trainers there to help you. More than likely when you signed up you got a free 1-2 sessions with a trainer. They can take you around the equipment and show you how to use it, because they don't want you to get hurt anymore than you want to get hurt. DO THIS! It is a must! Have someone show you the ropes.

Monday, January 5, 2015

NYD5K Race Recap

My first race recap of the year! Oh how fun!
~Pink faced from the race. I look like I am dying but I am fine!~

New Year's morning I braved the wind and cold to run a 5k. I was told the week earlier by one of the coaches from my training program that the beginning is a dirt road. For nearly a week I was wondering what that meant. Like super rocky, like break my ankle cause I am super clumsy or if it meant anything else.

I got a ride from my friend J. It was a lot colder than we were expecting and very windy but the winds really weren't that bad when we started to run. It was just freezing at the beginning because it was so shady where the bib pick up was.
J and I went and huddled in the car after we got our bibs to try and warm up. J mentioned that she ran the race a couple of years ago and it was pretty flat. I am starting to like hills, to an extent, because that is where I can make up my time lost from walking. My game plan was to come in at under 50 min. That is all I wanted.

I lined up at the back of the pack, I was actually right behind my captain from the training program. I jogged with her in the beginning, for about the first 3/4 miles. Then I actually needed a short walking break. As I walked I noticed a lady behind me, then she passed me but she breathing a little hard. We started talking and she said that it was her second race ever.

I started pacing with her and talking with her to help her breathing out. The common question of "why am I doing this" kept coming up. I told her she was already doing it and I kept running with her. As we rounded the 1.5 mile mark at the turn around I felt like she was pulling back on the downhills. I told her to open up her stride and let gravity take her. She did and was loving it!

We continued to run and talk and I shared advice with her on running. As we came up to the last 1/4 mile my friend J met us and was join in. She was already done, totally kicked butt and she is pregnant! The lady I was running with, her family was going to run in with her too so I pulled ahead and ran in with J. Right as I crossed the finish line the lady I was running with sprinted right in front of me and finished half a second before me! And here I thought she was further behind me. J pushed me at the end and I was actually pushed at the end which is good!

And good news is, I came in at 47:45. I was super excited. I think I could have even come in sooner but I would rather help someone out than just let them suffer and struggle. Maybe for the 10k I have coming up in February I will push myself. Actually I have to push myself because I need to hit a certain time so that I can use it for corral placement for Disney. I want to be in a good corral!

The course was not too hilly. I had a steady climb then decline so that was nice. More rolling than anything. The landscape was beautiful. We were running on a back road and there were some pretty beautiful homes out there! Not to mention that a horse charged at us. I thought he was going to jump the fence at us.

The only draw back is that the road was not closed so cars were driving around us runners so it could have been potential even more dangerous than it was, but it was a back road and there weren't that many cars. It is a very small race. But nice to have a New Year race so close to home!
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